Not Being Allowed to Meet Farmers, Oppn MPs Write to Shah, Birla

The Quint
·4-min read

After several Opposition MPs were reportedly stopped from meeting protesting farmers on Thursday, 4 February, at the Ghazipur border, several wrote a letters to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Home Minister Amit Shah saying that the situation at the site was like that of India-Pakistan border and that the farmers were being deprived of basic facilities.

Asking if India had become a police state, the MPs questioned why they were not allowed to meet the farmers.

WHAT LETTER TO LS SPEAKER OM BIRLA SAID

In the letter, the MPs said that they physically wanted to meet the farmers but weren’t allowed to do so.

“The impression we got at the Delhi Ghazipur border is like the border between India and Pakistan. The condition of farmers resemble that of prisoners in jail,” the letter read, reported NDTV.

“We have been told that the water supply and electricity to the farmers’ tents have been disconnected. Internet services stopped; portable toilets have been taken away. The government has taken a repressive attitude towards the farmers in order to stifle their agitation,” the letter added.

Also Read: Rihanna, Greta On Farmers’ Protests: Was MEA’s Response Suitable?

WHAT THE LETTER TO AMIT SHAH SAID

In the letter undersigned by several MPs including Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, AAP’s Sanjay Singh, RJD’s Manoj Jha and Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, the MPs urged Shah to intervene in the matter of human rights violation and restoration of basic amenities like electricity and water supply.

“But now, in the guise of the violence occurred on 26th, government is trying to distort the protests and disperse the farmers using force. In many protest place, police manhandled protesters and cut the electricity and water supply,” the letter accessed by India Today read.

“Every day pro government groups are reaching the borders and attacking the farmers. These are very unfortunate and we request you to urgently intervene and do the needful of withdrawing police action against the farmers, restore the electricity, water and other amnesties in the protest spots and take strict actions against those group who are trying to perpetrate violence,” it added.

MPs STOPPED FROM MEETNG PROTESTING FARMERS

As many as 15 Members of Parliament from 10 Opposition parties visited the Ghazipur border on Thursday to meet the farmers protesting against the three contentious farm laws, with one of them, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, saying they were stopped by the police.

Apart from Badal, the 15 MPs included Supriya Sule (NCP), Kanimozhi (DMK), and Saugata Roy (TMC), among others.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and other Opposition leaders during their visit to Ghazipur border, in solidarity with farmers’ agitation against Centre’s farm reform laws.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and other Opposition leaders during their visit to Ghazipur border, in solidarity with farmers’ agitation against Centre’s farm reform laws.

"Saw the conditions created at #ghazipurborder, first hand. Shocked to see the treatment being meted out to the annadaata. Farmers are barricaded behind fortress like concrete barriers and barbed wire fencing. Even ambulances and fire brigades cannot enter the protest site," Harsimrat Badal later tweeted.

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"“We are here so that we can discuss this issue (farmers’ protest) in the Parliament. The Speaker is not letting us raise the issue. Now all the parties will give details of what is happening here.” " - Harsimrat Kaur Badal, SAD MP, as quoted by ANI

WHAT THE POLICE SAID

Meanwhile, Delhi Police joint commissioner Alok Kumar later told news agency ANI, "The MPs wanted to go to the protest site (Ghazipur border). We informed them that the movement was not possible as we've barricaded the road in view of the law and order situation. We apprised them of an alternate route and proposed to escort them."

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule interacts with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi during their visit to Ghazipur border, in solidarity with the farmers’ agitation against Centre’s farm reform laws.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule interacts with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi during their visit to Ghazipur border, in solidarity with the farmers’ agitation against Centre’s farm reform laws.

The Ghazipur protest site is one of the three main sites of protest around Delhi by farmers against the three agriculture laws. In the aftermath of the violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day, police deployment has been stepped up at these sites and heavy barricading has been put in place.

The issue of the laws and the ensuing protests have been raised in the Rajya Sabha, which is holding proceedings during the Budget Session of Parliament.

Also Read: Do Blockades of Farmer Protest Sites Violate Human Rights Law?

(With inputs from ANI, PTI, NDTV, and India Today.)

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